All emergency public health orders have been extended to June 19. Government has unveiled guidelines that businesses will need to follow for gradual reopening.
Key Dates and Updates
- April 30: The Government unveiled guidelines that businesses will need to follow to protect employees and customers as the province works towards gradual reopening. Retail guidance documents can be found here: (1) Cashiers (2) Retail Sector (3) Retail General Labour.
- May 4: Select businesses may reopen, including garden centres and nurseries with curbside pick-up and delivery only, automatic and self-serve car washes, and auto dealerships, by appointment only.
- May 8: Garden centres and nurseries can provide in-store payment and purchases, operating under the same guidelines as grocery stores and pharmacies.
- May 9: Hardware stores and safety supply stores can provide in-store payment and purchases, operating under the same guidelines as grocery stores and pharmacies.
- May 19: All retail stores with a street-front entrance (no indoor malls) will be allowed to open, with restrictions to enable physical distancing.
- May 27: The provincial government announced that non-essential health care services, such as dentists, optometrists, massage therapists, chiropractors, physiotherapists, psychologists, dieticians, and denturists, can reopen as soon as they have safety guidelines in place.
- May 31: Drive-in movie theatres and batting cages can reopen.
- June 12: The majority of regions in Ontario entered stage 2 of the province’s reopening plan, with the exception of the Greater Toronto Area and a few other areas. The full list of regions that are permitted to enter stage 2 can be found (here).
- Hair salons, barber shops, outdoor recreation facilities, and shopping malls are among businesses that are permitted to reopen in addition to restaurants for patio services. Other businesses that are permitted to reopen during stage 2 can be found (here).
- Child care services and places of worship can also reopen with limited attendance and physical distancing rules in place.
- June 19: All regions except for Toronto, Peel, and Windsor-Essex entered stage two of the province’s phased reopening plan. Hair salons, barber shops, swimming pools, outdoor recreation facilities, and malls are among the businesses that can reopen. Restaurants can also reopen for patio service. Toronto, Peel, and Windsor-Essex remain in stage 1 at this time.
- Places of worship and child care centres across the province can also reopen with limited capacity and physical distancing rules in place.
- June 24: Toronto, Peel, and most of Windsor-Essex joined the rest of the province in stage 2. The Toronto zoo has reopened, and the province is continuing to loosen some restrictions around indoor sports and fitness.
- All indoor and outdoor swimming pools and outdoor splash pads and wading pools are permitted to reopen to the public, but with no access to high-contact aquatic features (eg., slides and climbing structures). Waterparks, wave pools, and water slides will not be permitted to reopen in stage 2.
- Outdoor-only recreational facilities that operate low-contact attractions and activities will be allowed to reopen. This includes activities such as paintball, mini-golf, archery ranges, go-cart tracks, and other adventure activities.
- Recreational activities or areas that do not allow for two-metre distancing between patrons are not permitted.
- Indoor recreational activities are not permitted except for indoor driving ranges and rod and gun clubs.
- Amusement parks, waterparks, playgrounds, play structures, and outdoor fitness equipment remain closed.
- July 7: There is a temporary bylaw that will be in effect in Toronto making masks mandatory in public indoor settings.
- July 7: Leamington and Kingsville regions joined the rest of the province in stage 2.
- July 17: Some of the province are allowed to enter stage 3.
- In this stage, nearly all businesses, including gyms, movie theatres, and indoor dining can reopen.
- Fitness studios, casinos, playgrounds, community centres, and libraries can reopen.
- Indoor gathering limits increase to 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors, but still require physical distancing.
- The Toronto area and a few other regions will not be entering stage 3 at this time. For a list of regions that will be allowed to move into stage 3, please visit this link.
- July 24: Other regions of Ontario, except Toronto, Peel, and Windsor-Essex enter stage 3 with the rest of the province.
- July 31: The Toronto and Peel regions will move into stage 3.
Workplace Safety Guidelines
- Cashiers: Increase airflow from open doors and windows; increase cleaning frequency; keep up with good hand washing and avoid touching face; hand sanitizer should be used frequently where washing is not available; consider the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) (e.g., gloves and goggles or face shields).
- Retail Sector: Train everyone on COVID-19 safety measures; provide hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes for visitors to use when entering and on carts; provide a safe place for customers to dispose of used sanitizing wipes and PPE in parking lot; provide staff with hand sanitizer; have all employees and visitors wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer before entering, after contact with others, or with surfaces others have touched; sanitize the workplace thoroughly and often; sanitize surfaces and immediate area between each transaction if possible; screen workers regularly for health issues; introduce more fresh air by increasing ventilation system’s air intake or opening doors and windows; consider the use of PPE (e.g., gloves and goggles or face shields).
- Retail General Labour: Use good hand washing techniques and avoid touching face; improve fresh air intake and air circulation with open doors and windows or fans; increase cleaning frequency; ensure all safety measures are communicated to staff; consider the use of PPE (e.g., gloves and goggles or face shields).
- Returns are currently allowed.
- Ontario recommends that customers who bring reusable bags to stores should pack the bags themselves.
Physical Distancing Guidelines
- The province has increased its limit on public gatherings to 10 people indoors and outdoors.
- Must restrict the number of customers in the store at one time by offering in-store by appointment and/or by limiting the number of people in the store at any one time. Retailers would need to restrict the number of customers per square metre – for example, one customer per 4 square metres – to ensure physical distancing of 2 metres at all times.
- Only fitting rooms with doors would be used, not curtains, to facilitate disinfecting. Retailers would restrict use to every second fitting room at any one time to allow for cleaning after use and ensure physical distancing.
- Cashiers: Encourage cashless payments; create potential barriers between cashiers and customers; everyone should maintain physical distance of at least two metres apart and control the number of customers in the store at a time; consider floor markings to show distance to be kept apart.
- Retail Sector: Provide online ordering, delivery or curb side pick-up and eliminate at-door payment methods for deliveries; control how many customers enter at one time; manage traffic flow and physical distancing with measures (e.g., floor markings and barriers); consider ways to minimize contact with customers and maintain safe distance (at least 2 metres); consider minimizing or eliminating handling of cash; consider not accept reusable bags or containers; consider installing barriers between cashier and customer; consider ensuring customers use new bags only; limit the number of people working in one space; reschedule unnecessary visits to the workplace (e.g., by supply chain partners).
- Retail General Labour: Integrate physical distancing in job activities; eliminate or minimize customer contact; control and limit the number of people in a workspace at one time.